Inspiration board- to use or not to use

Unless you were hiding in the dudgeon for the last several weeks, you must have heard about Pinterest. It is still by-invite-only, but quickly growing social media site. Not unlike 500px, which was there for a long time, and picked up high volume traffic just recently. Unfortunately, with the high volume traffic came a lot of controversy. While 500px is designed to post your own work, the idea behind Pinterest is to re-post other’s work. The opinions on how it’s made vary from unquestioned enthusiasm of Tray Ratcliff to reserved optimism by Jim Goldsein to dismissal by Faded & Blurred and Photoshelter.

For me, the most important question before I joined Pinterest was “What for?”. I looked around at first, and saw pages filled with images. It didn’t strike me like a good place to post, for example, a stream of tutorials- Delicious is far better for it, with key-wording etc. Pinterest is visual. I figured, how about using it as inspiration board. You often see people talking about the usefulness of inspirational boards, either physical or virtual. How helpful it is for their creative process to keep record of images they would like to shoot one day, composition ideas, poses for people’s portraits, places to visit… One of photographers using inspiration boards in Jasmine Start, as described in a very old post of hers. You can also see her with her board in the background on her videos. But many others suggest doing the same thing.

The problem is- it is not how I work. The inspirational board feel very unnatural to me. In few months I have the account, I gathered only few images. Believe me, I have seen quite a few macro images and flower photographs during that time. I don’t know how to draw inspiration from it, either. I look at the image in the web or in the museum, remember it, not even details, just what I feel and what I particularly liked about it. Maybe, later, I will remember it, and include an element of it in my work. I never go to any inspiration board, or Flickr or any other place before the shoot. If nothing else, I do not want to subconsciously replicate. If the things are to fresh in my mind, I might be too tempted to just use the ready, tested idea.

So, how about you? Do you have an inspiration board? On you wall, in a binder, on somewhere on your computer? How do you use it in your creative process?